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It has been over one month since Joe Biden was sworn in as the president of the United States.
Since that time, Biden has made public statements here and there and held a few carefully controlled pressers with his handlers by his side, some of which included either reporters or questions that were pre-selected. He also participated in a predictably friendly town hall on CNN last week where he made some questionable claims that, of course, went mostly unchallenged by moderator and anchor Anderson Cooper.
One thing Biden hasn’t done in the last month, however, is to hold a solo press conference with the White House press corps. As the pandemic continues on and as parts of the country are continuing to dig out from a brutal winter storm, two reporters went against the grain during today’s White House press briefing with press secretary Jen Psaki and asked when they’d get a chance to ask Biden himself some questions.
CNN’s Kaitlan Collins got the first question in by first pointing out that “by this time in their presidencies, both President Trump and President Obama had held solo press conferences.” She then asked Psaki if there are “plans for President Biden to hold a solo press conference any time soon?”
While Psaki confirmed he’d be holding a solo presser at some point, she told Collins an exact date had not yet been set. “He will hold a solo press conference,” Psaki stated. “But I don’t have a date for you at this point in time.”
When Collins asked if it would be this week, Psaki told her, “not this week, no.”
Another reporter followed up with Psaki and wondered out loud if it would be Biden who picked “the inquisitors” in the room who would get to question him at his first solo presser.
“Will he get to pick the inquisitors himself?” the male reporter asked.
Psaki claimed it was “typical” for a president to already have a list of people they’ll call on. “Usually it’s a large number of people who are in the press room. And we certainly hope we’ll be able to do that in a COVID-safe way,” she proclaimed before moving on to the next question.
When I first watched Psaki answer the questions, red flags jumped out all over the place. Considering everything that is going on in the country right now, why hasn’t the leader of the free world been out front and center giving assurances to the public on the pandemic and on the parts of the country that are digging out from the recent winter storm?
Having a press conference where reporters ask questions about both issues would be a great way to start, but Biden’s been MIA. In fact, while reporters were bashing Sen. Ted Cruz last week for taking a trip with his family to Cancun, Biden called an early lid at 8 a.m. This was when DC had had a dusting of snow and ice.
Why not do a virtual presser that day or the next instead of essentially taking snow days? I mean we’re in the middle of two ongoing crises. Where’s the leadership?
As was the case when he ran for president, Biden’s heavy reliance on his handlers to pre-select reporters or to speak for him, and on his vice president to make calls to world leaders on his behalf will only continue to raise more questions as to just what’s going on and on just who might really be running this country.